Sunday 23 September 2018

Harry Kane says last gasp winner was 'justice' against cynical Tunisia defence

VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 18: Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Tunisia and England at Volgograd Arena on June 18, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 18: Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Tunisia and England at Volgograd Arena on June 18, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Harry Kane accused the Tunisian defence of using cynical tactics to try and halt England’s charge in their opening World Cup game, as he suggested his last gasp goal in a 2-1 win ensured justice was served in Volgograd.

Tunisia were handed a controversial first half penalty as Kyle Walker was adjudged to have fouled Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, with VAR confirming the decision that handed the underdogs an undeserved first half equaliser.

England felt they could have had two penalties as Kane was man-handled in the box by the Tunisian defenders, with the Tottenham striker suggesting his late winner was just reward after a dubious refereeing performance.

"We could have had a couple of penalties, especially when you look at theirs. A few corners, they were trying to grab, hold and stop us running," said Kane.

"Maybe a bit of justice to score at the back post at the end. That's football, that's the ref. It showed good character to get on with it.

"I'm really proud. We did a lot of work on training field and were itching to play. Get the nerves and excitement out of the play.

"It's massive to get the win. I'm so proud of the lads. It’s tough. We played so well especially in the first half and we could have scored a few more. We kept going. It's a World Cup, you go to the last second. I'm absolutely buzzing.

"We've done it for a while [had good resilience] since the gaffer has been here - he's instilled it into us. We've got a great bond off the pitch so it's great to see it on the pitch. We'll get onto the plane happy tonight."

England manager Gareth Southgate paid tribute to Kane, as he suggested his skipper confirmed his class with two valuable goals.

"If he didn't score in this game, we would be speaking about why Harry Kane can't score in major tournaments, but he has done it now and I'm delighted for him," stated Southgate.

"I was happy of the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down. We stayed patient, we didn’t just throw the ball in the box. We deserved the win.

"We created so many clear cut chances, especially in the first half, and were in total control in the second half. We were strong on set plays all night. Even if we’d drawn, we'd have been proud of the performance.

"We’ll do well to make as many chances in a game again in this tournament. The movement, pace, control from the back with the ball was pleasing. We wore them down. Good teams score late goals – if you dominate the ball like that the opposition tire.

"It’s difficult to highlight individuals as it was a collective performance. The squad have been brilliant. We got this result over the last three weeks, not just tonight. That’s from everyone who worked so hard together."

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